The Mystery of the Marketing Trilogy Part 2

“What, sir,” I began, hoping for a reaction.

“In regards to…” The Detective replied, trailing off in anticipation that I would explain myself.

Wanting to, but in the end unwilling to extend the game, I replied, “What, sir, is the second part of the Marketing Trilogy, which you are expounding upon.”

“Ah, yes, quite right Watson!” The Detective recovered, and quickly moved into the explanation.

“The What is the tricky part, and the one that so many marketers seem to fall short on. Once your prospects know why they should be interested, the what is literally telling your audience what they need to do to solve their problem. Outline the process. Tell them what they need to do!” The Detective exclaimed.

“By providing a solution you are establishing that you truly know what you are talking about, without having to go through the drudgery of say writing hundreds of articles that, sad to say Watson, are most likely going to get lost in the noise. That said, I cannot in good conscience claim writing and speaking – in the multitude of presentation forms and venues available,  should be eliminated from your ongoing marketing process. However, by directly providing truly rich and most importantly, useful, content you gain the added bonus of building trust. No one feels like you pulled a bait and switch on them. You told them why something was a problem, and what they should do to resolve it.

“But sir, aren’t you giving away what you are trying to sell? Won’t some of your audience just run off with your ideas?” I asked in consternation.

“Ah Watson, that is the beauty of this methodology, and the most difficult part. Telling someone WHAT they must do does not necessarily end their pain. Tell me Watson, if I said to you that to conduct an effective email campaign you must first review your list and segment it demographically, then design a content delivery process with a mixture of usable content and sales promotions utilizing an automated tool, did I or did I not tell you what you must do?”

“Yes, sir, but there is something missing.” I answered cautiously.

“Precisely Watson! And exactly what that something missing is we will review in our next discussion,” said The Detective, effectively ending the discussion for the day.




The Mystery of The Marketing Trilogy Part 1

“Bah! Another hour of my life wasted listening to someone’s supposedly free webinar, Watson,” The Detective began our conversation, as he threw off his headphones.

“Supposedly sir? Was there actually a cost attached to said webinar?” I asked.

“No Watson, there was no monetary exchange, though I feel that a chunk of my invaluable time has been stolen from me,” sighed The Detective in a frustrated tone I knew only all too well. ” I am always hopeful that the amount of useful content will exceed the amount of sales pitching, but I am so often disappointed.”

“But isn’t that what we have all come to expect from webinars, and a goodly number of seminars as well? In the end they are just pitches for someone’s service, or the occasional product. ” I prompted.

“Yes, yes, Watson, but hope springs eternal that more than a select few marketers out there would adopt the far more effective Marketing Trilogy.” The Detective shot back.

“The Trilogy, sir? Are we talking Hobbits now? Lord of the Rings and all that?” I asked, concerned we were about to descend into fantasy and silliness.

“No, Watson, not that Trilogy, but the concept is simplistic as three words,” The Detective assured me.

“And that group of three would be?” I urged, now extremely curious.

“Elementary, my dear Watson, three words: Why, What, and How.”

“Perhaps you could expand on that, sir,” I requested quietly, my curiosity now most certainly piqued.

“It refers to a simple process of lead generation and sales Watson. It can be used with webinars, seminars and plain old fashioned sales presentations. Allow me to break it down for you,” The Detective began, getting warmed up to his subject.

“The Why is the marketing message. It is the description of the pain you are answering; it makes them look inside themselves and want to listen to you because they want to relieve this pain. No one cares who you are and how great you are, they merely care that you have identified some pain they have, or perhaps become suddenly aware of, and that you perhaps have a solution. WHY you would want my service, NOT here is a service that is extremely wonderful and you really need it, and I am the most amazing practitioner of said service, simply WHY you should listen, because of this pain,” explained The Detective emphasizing the why and the not.

“That seems to make sense sir, pray continue.”

“Ah Watson, perhaps tomorrow, I have lost time today already, and must attend to other things. Besides, we don’t wish our readers to lose a vast amount of their own time today now would we?” asked The Detective, already looking as if he were on to another mystery.

“As you wish, sir.”


The Mystery of The Incomplete Explanation Part 2

“Where were we Watson,” started The Detective.

“I believe you were just going to start a further explanation of point two from a previous discussion, sir. Lost Customers to be precise.” I quickly replied.

“Quite Right. Actually, this one in a way, is self-explanatory. It astounds that more business people don’t see it.

“You see Watson, in the haste to get new customers, because everyone knows they are the life-blood of a business, business people often forget they already have a source of said ‘life-blood’: people who have already bought from them. Unfortunately, too often they either take them for granted – assuming that because they were so impressed with the service and/or product they received, they will come running back when they need something additional, or they don’t think of them at all, acting as if all customers are new customers. Of course, the result is the customer does not think of them either.

“A truly ‘lost’ customer must be approached cautiously. After all, there has probably been no real communication for some time. But you must find a way to reestablish contact. Direct mail, email, the method may depend on the data you have. Here is where caution comes in. Suddenly pummeling them with reminders that you are still in business and why the heck have they not visited you, or the same old flyers you send out would be counter productive. These are people who have done business with you before. They want to – and may already,  think of themselves as special, as having done you the kindness of having done business with you – no matter that you may feel you saved their business, made them look good to their client or boss, or simply given them a great deal! Your perception is irrelevant.

There must be some kind of offer to entice these lost souls. It needn’t be anything large, just something of value. After all, they were your customer once, if you provided a quality product and good service, they probably would most likely welcome the contact; a much easier sale I would say. In all probability it wasn’t that they did not want to do business any longer, but, like for most of us, life simply got in the way, and since the business did nothing to reestablish the relationship, it slipped away like an old High School friend,” finished The Detective with a flourish.

“How poetic!” I exclaimed.

“Yes, well, sometimes it is easy to get carried away Watson, let us not dwell on that,” replied The Detective sheepishly.

“Of course, sir. Shall we take a break before going into another mystery?” I asked, giving him an opportunity to slip away from the subject.

“Excellent idea, Watson, Excellent idea!”



The Mystery of The Incomplete Explanation Part 1

Sometimes in relating information The Detective and I forget that giving a couple of bullet points is often insufficient to fully explain an important concept (or concepts!). Case in point. If you are an observant reader you might have caught the link to an article in Time Magazine that we sent out over the weekend just past. If not, fear not! We realized belatedly that perhaps we could have or should have expounded a little bit more on some of the key points; at least given an example that fits in more with our readers. After all, the article was talking about databases with hundreds of thousands of names, perhaps millions. How could that possibly relate? Let The Detective give it a try:

“Watson, do you think perhaps we were a bit, shall we say, vague in how some of the data mining techniques mentioned in that article could actually apply to the smaller list owner?” asked The Detective as we sat enjoying our brandies.

“Funny thing, I was just considering that,” I replied.

“Very well then,” launched The Detective, “perhaps we should give a slightly longer explanation a go. Let me start with the first point: too many databases.”

“Even a relatively small business could have too many databases. In fact, too many could easily be two, depending on the data that is stored in each of them. Take as a simple example a business that deals with consumers rather than other businesses. It would be quite easy for them to have two databases: one for email through one of the many systems out there, and a direct mail listing, perhaps a mailing list database or document they can merge.

By merging the two data sources, or more simply, picking and choosing items that can be used to properly segment the list, such a business could easily send highly targeted emails as well as direct mail to a potential customer base.”

“What types of items could they, as you put it, ‘pick and choose’ pray tell,” I asked, intrigued.

“Elementary, dear Watson. The simplest in this case would be zip code. If the business is local, then  they probably know the neighborhoods and thus the zip codes of the more affluent residents. Given that information included into the Email list, one could send an offer for high-end merchandise, knowing they would not irritate those who have less interest or capability to pay for such a purchase,” answered The Detective.

“Brilliant, sir!” I exclaimed in spite of myself.

“Another simple example would be if they have tracked the purchase history of their customers, perhaps in an accounting system. By adding an indicator of a high volume purchaser to their email program, they could also target special offers for such loyal customers!” finished The Detective.

“I think that gives a much better idea of what was meant by too many databases, sir. Now perhaps the others?…” I encouraged.

“All in good time, Watson. All in good time.”


The Mystery of the Missed Marketing Message

The Effective Detective was never a big one for newspapers (especially the ones that are mostly or all advertisements), being more of an email guy, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when he got a tad upset when I brought to his attention an ad he had missed concerning a favorite restaurant of his.

“What’s that Watson? One of my favorite restaurants not only has an entertainer I would enjoy, but a special? When shall we go?”

“I’m afraid all of that is in the past tense sir. Last week to be precise.”

“Confound it, Watson! I don’t read those bloody papers! I have enough to do already let alone leafing through a collection of coupons and offers I generally have no interest in, just to see if there might be one that catches my fancy.” It would seem I had started a minor storm.

“Well sir, I don’t think they could go about calling every one of their customers to let them know what is happening on a regular basis. Far more cost efficient to do the ad.” I offered, watching the sarcasm, knowing that might trigger a bigger storm.

“Bah!” The Detective spat out, “I have been to that restaurant countless times, you would think they would have some kind of loyalty program set up.”

“Perhaps sir, but not everyone has the time, or in particular the resources to organize and run such a thing, and where could they get your contact information?” I replied, playing devil’s advocate.

“Again… Bah!” The Detective retorted, “Just have a simple sign up sheet, then type in the name and email addresses into an email program and send out offers and notices through that! For heaven’s sake they could queue up any number of dates at once and then let it run on auto-pilot. If they send useful offers or information on a regular basis, I would actually be looking forward to their emails, instead of having to sift through these bloody papers. And, I wouldn’t have missed the one last week! ” The Detective finished with a sigh.

“I see your point,” I answered, “could this also be utilized by other non-food establishments?”

“Of course Watson! Any retail outlet could easily do the same thing!” The Detective shot back.

“What could they use to do such a thing?” I asked.

“There are any number of inexpensive services out there,” The Detective replied, starting to calm down again. “But that discussion is for another time.”

“Of course,” I nodded, “Of course.”

pretending to be big

1. If the point is trying to convince potential clients that you are a bigger company, is it a good idea to start out a relationship with a lie?
2. Do these products actually help you provide better service? Actually it is one question: What are your trying to accomplish? Having an office where you can meet with a client comfortably may very well enhance your service. Trying to make someone believe you are bigger than you are almost definitely does not. I like being direct. I am who I am, and I am who you are going to get if you retain me. No window dressing, maybe just some technological aids to make sure you are satisfied with your interaction with me. ]]>

Three keys to service

1. Leadership – someone has to steer the ship!
2. Team Building – you cannot do it alone!
3. Systems – make it repeatable!

easy step towards better customer service

Alan Weiss recently made an excellent suggestion for a cheap and easy way to immediately improve a company’s customer service: Start addressing all of your customers by name. He added start by addressing them as Mr., Ms., Dr., etc. until you have been given permission to address them otherwise. Allow me to add that the key part of that is the second part: addressing them as Mr., Ms., etc. FIRST. By addressing people you don’t know with some respect, you gain permission to continue the relationship. This is different than networking, where everyone you are introduced to is most likely comfortable with, and expect, being called by their first name. The one word difference here is “expect”. I do not expect to be addressed by my first name by a clerk or a server I have never met before in my life, and am probably not thinking about starting a business relationship with. However, if they make the effort to discover my name (looking at my credit card, or maybe a simple, “How can I help you Mr?…”), and start by being respectful, I will quickly get comfortable and appreciate that this business “knows me”. Not treating your customers like objects or numbers (“ahh, sale #5 today!”) is always a good thing, but you need to do it right. Be respectful, they are interesting in doing business with you, not being your best friend.]]>

delighting does not require perfection

their final goal (in the programmer/analysts case using your system to add and obtain information of some type). If expectations are set impossibly high, and/or it is a struggle to get help or report issues, and then wait days, weeks, or months to get resolution, then no, the customer most likely will not be delighted. However, if expectations are set that there will of course be some tweaks that need to be made, and when issues are reported they are promptly addressed (even if the solution is not always what the customer was expecting or hoping for!), then the customers needs will indeed will be met, and if the process to get there was as promised, they will often be delighted. Go ahead and look for ways to have zero defects. You may even come close (depending on your industry or your job – this stuff applies to workers too). But the real gold lays in helping your customer (who could be your boss!) reach their goals in utilizing your product or service. That is where delight can be generated. ]]>

it goes both ways